Monday, December 31, 2007


January ~ To face my birthday with gratitude for all that has gone before and all that may lie ahead.

February ~ To remember that, no matter how cold and bleak they may be, winters always end.

March ~ To rejoice in the Creator's gift of new life.

April ~ To welcome the enduring light of springtime.

May ~ To do more of substance with longer days.

June ~ To enjoy and celebrate the coming of summer.

July ~ To be honored that my children's independent lives are a validation of the lessons they have learned from their parents.

August ~ To laugh and dance at my son's wedding.

September ~ To anticipate a happy season of holiday fun.

October ~ To do more on behalf of our troops overseas.

November ~ To cast my vote for worthy leaders and good causes.

December ~ To look back in thankfulness at the wisdom another year of living offers to each of us.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chicago Christmas

I'll be offline until close to New Year. This weekend I'm heading to Chicago, along with my son, to spend Christmas with my future daughter-in-law's sister and her husband.

Nearly 30 years ago, I drove through Chicago on a cross-country trip. I've made a few stopovers at O'Hare airport since, but that never counts as quality time. So at last, I'll get to spend some time in the Windy City. All of my sweaters are clean and suitcase-ready.

Kristine will be in New York, visiting both of her grandmothers and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. She was five years old when Pete and I moved to California, so this will be an auld lang syne Christmas for my daughter.

As she mentioned to me on the phone this week, "We're still trying to figure out Christmas." But, that's okay. As long as we're spending it with family, I think we're on the right track.

Best wishes to you and yours for a blessed and beautiful Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Strength Behind the Scenes

I've always liked Laura Bush. She has been such a refreshing change from the strident spouse of the previous administration. Dignified, soft-spoken, content to work quietly in the background, Mrs. Bush has brought a gracious sense of class back into The White House.

This article is one example of the positive influence her personal manner can bring into our foreign relations. Advancing our nation's interests doesn't always have to involve boots on the ground. With the right ambassador, pumps on the carpet will work at least as well.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Straight from the Source

One Marine's View has all the news you'll never see on the networks. Take time to read these encouraging words for America, directly from a troop on the front lines in Iraq.

Ask yourselves, why has the news coverage shifted almost completely away from the war and towards next year's presidential campaign, winter storms, and global warming? Because MSM does not want to stand corrected on the increasing success of the surge.

Remember our military overseas this holiday season. They are working hard to make sure things go right in the Middle East--whether their progress gets reported or not.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

From the Memory Hole

With the presidential election less than a year away, and with primary fever starting to grip the political world, Stuart Taylor of National Journal provides us with a timely reminder of what the electorate is dealing with in Hillary Clinton.

In a word: Liar. A fuller description would include the words cold-blooded, calculating, without conscience, and oh yes--shameless--in front of the "L" word.

As inundated as we are with ever-changing news cycles and information overload, it is so easy to forget even the recent past. Taylor's article calls us back to the 1990s and the seamy shadows of Travelgate, Vince Foster, Monica Lewinski, cattle futures, and Hillary's questionable billing records from her law firm days.

If you're thinking of voting next year--especially if you're leaning towards Hillary--"Honesty: Hillary's Glass House" is definitely worth reading.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Actions Scream

By their fruits you shall know them

National Review Online has extensive commentary on the Romney speech, all of it interesting and worthwhile reading. I've linked four of the articles I found most intriguing in this paragraph, but there are many more available, at NRO and throughout the internet.

I find it both mystifying and sad that Romney's campaign had to come to the point of defending his individual faith. Although couched in the very relevant context of our nation's heritage of religious liberty, Romney's speech was an explanation of how he can fit in as our president, even though his is not one of the "normal" religious denominations. Obviously, he felt it was needed.

Could there be a more un-American need? This country was born of the quest for religious tolerance, and "Freedom of Worship," as depicted by the great 20th century artist Norman Rockwell, is one of our most dearly-held principles.

I am a Catholic who is blessed with many friends of various religions and philosophies. Aside from those of my own faith, I have friends (some quite close) who are Protestants of several different denominations, including evangelical Christians, Unitarians, Jews, and Buddhists. There are a couple of agnostics and atheists among my friends. Their religions (or lack of same) are completely irrelevant, because I have one simple rule for interpersonal relationships: to be my friend, you must treat me and mine with respect, honesty, and kindness.

That's all. Be a decent person, and we can build from there.

When my children were growing up, I would advise them to watch what people do instead of just listening to what they say. "Actions scream," I told them. Their father used to put the same concept another way with his pet saying, "You can't hide what you are."

So when I consider the possibility of Mitt Romney as president, I look at his life and how he has lived it. From a public perspective, I see an enormously successful businessman who is also a former state governor with impressive accomplishments on his record. On a personal level, I see a long-term marriage that has worked well and a beautiful family of young adults who are contributing to society and raising their own children in the same value system.

Romney is a decent person. I can build from there.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Hard to Believe

Lifted from today's headlines, here are five items I find so incredible that they're worthy of receiving awards:

  1. In the "Silly Me" category, the "Intelligence" community now says Iran isn't up to any mischief. Oops. Nothing to see here, folks, let's all go back to sleep...until the next crisis.

  2. In the "Pot vs. Kettle" category, Hillary Clinton expresses doubts about Barack Obama's "character flaws." And she's not kidding!

  3. In the "We're Not Biased" category, the Boston Globe breaks the earthshaking story that Mitt Romney has fired his gardeners for employing illegals. How many lawns did John Kerry have, and how many of his gardeners had working papers, in 2004?

  4. In the "I thought this was America" category, Mitt Romney (again) is planning a speech to explain why his religion is no impediment to his performance of presidential duties. Closing in on 50 years after JFK's speech on the subject, have we really made no progress?

  5. In the "Unworthy of Extensive Coverage" category, the Clinton campaign's "hostage drama" is in its fifth day--with no clue as to when the media will release us. I wish I could find this amount of MSM ink on the success of the surge!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas Presence

Advenio ~ to come (Latin)

Yesterday was the first Sunday after November 30, the feast of St. Andrew, which means that we have entered the season of Advent. Christmas is three weeks from tomorrow.

It always seems a surprise when the calendar suddenly arrives at Christmas time. We may stop to reflect upon another year fading into the mists of time as we hurry forward into the future, but more often we are caught up in the bustle of the season. There are so many extra chores and errands, so many social events and commitments, that it's sometimes a challenge to catch our breaths and remember that this is yet another golden opportunity to be present to our loved ones at a special time of year.

Two years ago, my children and I shared our last Christmas with Pete, my husband, their father. Last year, we journeyed to Ireland to blunt the edge of his first Christmas absence. This year, Kristine will spend Christmas with her two grandmothers and family, on the east coast. I will travel with Matt and his fiancee to share the holiday with her family in the midwest.

None of us will do much shopping. Presents are largely secondary to the real Christmas gift. Through our shared loss, we have learned the inestimable value of Christmas presence. May all of us be wise enough to take time to give that priceless gift to our loved ones this year.